In September 2003, six Asian American theater companies attended a convening sponsored by Theater Communications Group. The companies— Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, East West Players, Ma-Yi Theater, the National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO), Second Generation, and Mu Performing Arts— began discussions to hold the first National Asian American Theater Conference. Spearheaded by Tim Dang of East West Players, “Next Big Bang: The First Asian American Theater Conference” took place in Los Angeles in June 2006, followed by the first national Festival in June 2007 in New York City.
Conferences and Festivals have since been hosted in Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Ashland (OR), and Chicago (August 2018).
Check out our growing archive of past ConFests below for photos, program lineups, and themes from each year.
Confest 2018: Chicago
Join us in Chicago this August for a week of performances, new play readings, and networking.
ConFest 2016: Ashland, OR
ConFest 2016 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival represented a historic partnership with one of America’s largest theater companies. The theme Seismic Shifts: Leading Change in the American Theater engaged people in passionate dialogues about social injustice and inequality in American culture and what we, as theater practitioners, can do about it.
ConFest 2014: Philadelphia
Through the lens of the Asian American experience of migration and the search for a sense of “place” and equity on personal, community and global levels, the ConFest examined Asian Americans’ relationship to broad definitions and meanings of home.
ConFest 2011: Los Angeles
ConFest 2011 marked the first year that CAATA presented a combined Conference and Festival together. The theme New Directions highlighted the important role that the new generation of Asian American theater artists and practitioners were taking within the national theater landscape.
Festival 2009: New York City
The 2nd National Asian American Theater Festival included new works by Kristina Wong, Alice Tuan, Soo-Jin Lee, Sheetal Gandhi, Shishir Kurup and Marcus Young.
Conference 2008: Minneapolis / St. Paul
The 2nd National Asian American Theater Conference was held in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota and featured plenary programs by David Henry Hwang and Chay Yew.
Festival 2007: New York City
More than 30 theater companies and individual artists presented full productions over two weeks in the heart of New York City.
Conference 2006: Los Angeles
After three years of planning, the first ever National Asian American Theater Conference convened in Los Angeles, California at East West Players in June 2006.